Community First

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April 16, 2020
7:00pm Eastern Time
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GPB is pleased to partner with Compassionate Atlanta for an online screening of Community First, A Home for the Homeless. The documentary film shares the story of Community First! Village, which is a unique residential development that is transforming the lives of homeless people through the power of community in Austin, Texas. As explained by the founder Alan Graham, “It is specifically designed to lift the chronically homeless off the streets of the Austin area offering them a place to call home, helping them to heal from the ravages of life on the streets allowing them to rediscover a purpose in their lives.”

Community First! Village is not a homeless shelter. Everybody pays rent, there are no exceptions. Residents are given the opportunity to earn a dignified income working at the Village in a variety of areas such as the Genesis Gardens, the Community Cinema (a beautiful amphitheater built by Alamo Drafthouse), the Community Inn, or in the maintenance department. With open access to an “art house” and blacksmith shop, residents also have the opportunity to produce handmade goods that are sold in the Community Market.

Join us for a discussion following the film to learn about resources that are available and some of the innovative work that is happening in our own community.

Video Descriptions

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Welcome to OVEE

"Community First, A Home for the Homeless"

This is the feature documentary "Community First, A Home for the Homeless" produced by Inferno Films, Producer/Director Layton Blaylock. It made it's world premiere at SXSW in 2019. Copyright Inferno Films 2018. Please do not share this link.

75min 52sec


  • Moderator Avatar
    Emmalee Hackshaw

    As Director of Community Engagement at Georgia Public Broadcasting, Emmalee Hackshaw oversees the strategy, planning and execution of all of GPB's community engagement efforts and initiatives. Designed strategically to reach a broad segment of Georgia's diverse and evolving population, GPB's initiatives under Emmalee's leadership have included public film screenings, panel discussions and workshops for both adults and children across all age groups. Emmalee will be moderating the online chat portion of the screening event.


  • Panelist Avatar
    Layton Blaylock, Director & Cinematographer


    With an extensive background in feature films, documentaries, television, and informational films, Layton is extremely versatile and can handle just about any sized production or situation. "I love them all!" He is a graduate of the University of Texas with a degree in Radio-Television-Film and a member of the International Cinematographers' Guild.

  • Panelist Avatar
    Leanne Rubenstein, Panel Moderator


    Leanne Rubenstein brings over 20 years of non-profit experience to Compassionate Atlanta. She has an extensive background working in a leadership capacity with non-profit organizations and serves on several non-profit boards. Leanne’s passion for social justice has led her to take her degree in Special Education and her Master’s level training in counseling to a wider audience through program leadership, fundraising and development. As a passionate storyteller, Leanne has transformed her program development and leadership skills into helping the wider community understand the impact of their voices and their philanthropy in order to make a positive impact in their communities and worldwide.

  • Panelist Avatar
    Marty Collier, Statewide Independent Living Council of Georgia


    Marty has worked for 35 years with housing and community development organizations at the local, national and international levels. One of the 1st full-time, paid directors of Metro Fair Housing Services, Marty helped to coordinate teams of testers and lawyers around Atlanta and north Georgia to enforce the Fair Housing law shortly after it had been passed. Currently she assists the Statewide Independent Living Council of Georgia to educate and advocate for increased accessibility and affordability in housing throughout the state. Marty lives with her husband in East Lake Commons in Decatur, Georgia where she is active in local civic organizations, community networks and St. Timothy United Methodist Church.

  • Panelist Avatar
    Jimiyu Evans, Project Community Connections, Inc.


    Jimiyu teamed up with PCCI in 2008 and now as the Co-CEO will continue to direct PCCI’s programs, oversee culture, manage the facility, evaluate program performance and provide support with board development, business management and strategy, fundraising, and community relations. He started his career working with juvenile delinquents as a therapeutic assistant at DISC Village “JUST Program” in Florida and Lima Juvenile Detention Center in Pennsylvania. Jimiyu then rose to Social Services Supervisor at the Douglas County and then Carroll County Departments of Family and Children Services in Georgia. In those roles, he partnered with community agencies to develop and implement best case practices in homeless service delivery. A sought after thought-leader, Jimiyu has presented at organizations like the National Alliance to End Homelessness, Georgia Alliance to End Homelessness and the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. He is the current Board President for the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth and also co-developer with Mercy Housing SE of 117 units of affordable housing - Thrive Sweet Auburn, located in the heart of downtown Atlanta.

  • Panelist Avatar
    Emily Halevy, Coalition for a Diverse DeKalb


    Emily is a passionate advocate for her community and family. In addition to canvassing for various political campaigns and advocating for the safety and stability of her neighborhood, Emily formed the Coalition for a Diverse DeKalb, focused on affordable housing issues in her county. Through her efforts, her group pushes for policy and zoning changes at the county level, supports rezoning applications for affordable housing and educates the public on the importance of inclusivity and critical need for quality affordable housing, especially around public transportation. She also assists in the relocation of displaced tenants of affordable & workforce housing which often fall victim to urban infill and gentrification in our communities. Most recently, Emily has accepted a position as Board Member with Project Community Connections, Inc (PCCI), a rapid-rehousing organization. She and her husband, Matt Leatherman, have also formed the Friends of Avondale-Dunaire Park group, focused on community engagement and fundraising for much needed park improvements. Emily is currently running to be the next DeKalb County Super District 6 Commissioner.

  • Panelist Avatar
    Bambie Hayes-Brown, Georgia Advancing Communities Together, Inc.


    Bambie is the President and CEO of Georgia Advancing Communities Together, Inc., a statewide membership organization of housing and community development agencies. Formally homeless and a former public housing resident, Bambie is a highly sought after speaker on affordable housing policy, lived-experience advocacy and has served on numerous local, state, and national affordable housing panels. Additionally, Bambie is the Qualifying Broker of Maximum One Realty Executives, a Certified Economic Development Finance Professional, is Secretary of the Atlanta Housing Commission, and serves on several Boards including the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Bambie is married to Shearon Brown, is the ‘blended’ mother of five children, and splits her residence between Forest Park, GA and Fitzgerald, GA.

  • Panelist Avatar
    Lanona Lynette Jones, Calumet Park Neighborhood Assocation


    Lanona Jones has made it her life’s mission to advocate for the underprivileged, the destitute, and the homeless. Ms. Jones is the Secretary/Treasurer for the Calumet Park Neighborhood Association, Inc. in LaGrange, Georgia. Ms. Jones has over 25 years of professional experience in the Human Resources and Non-Profit Management industries and serves the community by partnering with local social service agencies and non-profit organizations working tirelessly to improve the quality of life for disenfranchised and marginalized residents in the City of Lagrange and Troup County, Georgia. Ms. Jones serves her community with compassion and determination by applying her professional and lived experiences to assist residents in the community who are homeless, transitioning back into the community from incarceration and those who suffer from substance abuse and mental illness. Through her work with the Calumet Park Neighborhood Association, Ms. Jones partners with local community activists and organizations to create programs and services that improve the quality of life for residents who require assistance with housing, employment, education, social support services and community outreach programs.

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The views and opinions expressed in this online screening are those of the presenters and participants, and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of ITVS, public broadcasting, or any entities hosting the screening.